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Burton found unfit to stand trial on charges in missing baby case

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Bloomington Police
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Bloomington Police are asking anyone who spoke to or had contact with 7-month-old Zaraz Walker or Kimberlee Burton since December 2021 to contact Sgt. Detective Bierbaum at (309) 434-2807 or jbierbaum@cityblm.org.

A Bloomington woman who told authorities she left her baby in a cemetery after the child died while sleeping with her has been found mentally unfit to stand trial, a judge ruled on Friday in the woman’s second court hearing since she was charged with concealing a death.

Kimberlee Burton, 29, did not speak at the brief hearing where defense lawyer Brian McEldowney told Judge William Workman that a psychiatrist has deemed Burton mentally unfit, meaning she is unable to understand the criminal charges against her and assist with her own defense.

In the doctor’s opinion, Burton “may be restored within one year, possibly much sooner,” said Workman. She will be transferred to McFarland Mental Health Center for treatment.

The felony case against Burton began on Feb. 12, after a relative asked to check on the well-being of Burton’s three young children on Feb. 12, found two children ages 5 and 6 at home alone. Missing from the home on East Wood Street was 7-month-old Zaraz Walker.

At the time the baby was reported missing, Burton was in jail on retail theft charges for allegedly stealing merchandise from Wal-Mart.

Over the course of the investigation, Burton told police the baby died and she placed the child in a nearby cemetery.

The child’s body has not been found.

Burton also is charged with child endangerment for leaving the two older children unsupervised. She remains in jail in lieu of $25,035.

The first of ongoing updates on Burton’s treatment will be provided at a June 24 hearing. Possible outcomes for Burton include a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, depending upon the evidence presented on her mental state at the time the child died.

Burton’s two other children who were living with her in February have been taken into DCFS custody.

A 10-year-old daughter who was the subject of a previous physical abuse complaint against Burton resides with her father. That complaint was deemed founded by the state in February.

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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